3 Keys to Asking Insightful Questions

3 Keys to Asking Insightful Questions

Over the years I’ve learned that people will forget what you say, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. One of the quickest ways to make people feel important and valued is to ask insightful questions.

Here are three keys to help you ask better, more insightful questions.

1.Listen – Most of us spend so much time worried about what we will say next that we don’t actually listen to what the person is saying. I’ve learned that people will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about them if you’ll just listen and let them talk. Real listening takes work. It typically requires eye contact and asking for clarifications on things – even if you think you understand what has been said.

2.Don’t Ask Why – Why is a good question to ask science and math teachers, but it tends to have a negative effect in a conversation. Mostly because we often don’t know why we do much of what we do. Why are you reading this article? Why puts people on the spot in a way that can feel like an interrogation.

Simply asking someone why, is also a bit lazy. It’s easy for you, but subtly puts a burden on the other person. Take the extra few seconds to figure out a better way to ask someone the reason something is the way it is, or was done the way it was done. Try to use words like how or what. Example: Rather than “Why do you like video games?” Try, “What got you interested in video games?”

3.Don’t Assume You Are Like the Other Person­ – This is the mistake I make most often. We have a natural human tendency to seek similarities with others. We use those similarities to build connection. But too often when we find a few connection points with someone we immediately assume they are just like us. We put them in a category in our heads. We end up attributing thoughts and mindsets to them that they may not have. We stop really listening. We assume they see everything just like we do – so we stop asking for more details about their thoughts. This leads to people feeling misunderstood in the long run.

I encourage you to begin to apply some of these tools. They take some work and extra through. But I believe they will take your communication and relationships with others to another level.




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